The Po’Pay Statues

Cliff Fragua of Jemez Pueblo is an internationally acclaimed sculptor known for his graceful work in stone and bronze. He was awarded one of the most prestigious commissions for a sculptor in the United States when he was asked to create a piece representing the state of New Mexico for the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. His marble statue of Po’pay, the leader of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, is the only work by a Native American artist in the collection.

Listen to Cliff talk about his sculpting process.

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Stone is Fragua’s preferred medium. He sees it as an honest and pure material combining basic elements of the earth, allowing him to express the spirit of the Pueblo people. He honors tradition in all of his work, choosing themes that represent and reflect his pride in Pueblo culture.

Fragua comes from a family of famed artists, and his mother, Juanita, and sisters, Glendora and Betty Jean, are highly respected Pueblo potters. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in the 1970s, where he studied with legendary Apache sculptor Allen Houser. Fragua has won awards from Heard Indian Market, Santa Fe Indian Market, the Wheelwright Museum, and the Native American Artist Invitational. His sculptures appear at the Albuquerque International Sunport, and in many other public locations. In 2005 he was named Indian Artist of the Year by the Indian Arts and Crafts Association.